Whether your team is pro, college or the local high school, if you’re a serious football fan and you’re going to the big game, you’ll probably spend a few pre- and post-game hours whooping it up in the parking lot. Yup. We’re talking tailgate parties.
Each year, between 20 and 50 million Americans pull up a lawn chair and join the fun. And that number is on the rise. But perhaps even more surprising: we recently learned that 30% of these serious fans never even take a seat in the stadium. They’re there for the camaraderie. And, of course, the amazing cooking. We know we never leave hungry.
As a salute to tailgaters everywhere, here are three great potato recipes to work into your rotation. Whether you’re a total rookie or the local all-star in the fender fare game, there’s something here for you, and many more great ideas in the recipe section of our website. Go Team!
Baked Potato Bar
If you plan to grill, smoke or otherwise prepare your main dish right outside the stadium, serving a make-ahead side dish can help ensure you actually have time to enjoy the party, too. A baked potato bar is great idea that puts the prep work ahead of game day.
Pre-game prep: plan out your toppings. Chili with sour cream, green onions, hot sauce, tomatoes, cheese. Go more upscale with caviar and crème fraiche (try that with new potatoes!). Or cheese, broccoli and bacon. The idea is to let your guests customize their spud.
On the day of, either make a batch of PotatOHs right in the microwave and store them, wrapped in foil, in a small cooler (obviously, not with ice!). Or, if you’re going to be grilling anyway, you can put foil wrapped potatoes over the coals, where they take about 30-45 minutes.
Another great pre-prep idea, buffalo chicken potato skins are a perfect blend of two game food favorites. Make this dish the day before, and put you potatoes into a disposable foil pan. Then, you can cook them before the game and pack them to go. Or, better yet, cook them on the grill in the pan. Bring extra buffalo sauce, blue cheese dressing, ranch dressing and celery sticks.
This recipe for grill top au gratins is also a prepare the day before, cook when you get there idea. This would be great with Italian sausage, flank steak or ham. It also transports very easily and you don’t have to worry about the ingredients spoiling in the car if there’s more game-day traffic than you imagined.